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Tips for a newbie?


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We'll be doing our first RCCL cruise (Independence of the Seas) in a couple of weeks. We've sailed on 6 Disney cruises, but this is our first on Royal. It's only for three nights and we're mostly excited to relax and explore. That being said, we don't want to leave and think, "if we'd only known..."

What advice do you have to help us avoid any "rookie" mistakes? Do we have to make reservations for shows? Any must-do snacks or treats? Activities that you've loved?

FWIW - we're two adults with no kids. Not big drinkers or gamblers. For this trip, we're not planning on doing any specialty dining or big "extras". We're more looking for what's included that we should check out and explore. We'll save "extras" for the next time around! 

 

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1 hour ago, EM1016 said:

We'll be doing our first RCCL cruise (Independence of the Seas) in a couple of weeks. We've sailed on 6 Disney cruises, but this is our first on Royal. It's only for three nights and we're mostly excited to relax and explore. That being said, we don't want to leave and think, "if we'd only known..."

What advice do you have to help us avoid any "rookie" mistakes? Do we have to make reservations for shows? Any must-do snacks or treats? Activities that you've loved?

FWIW - we're two adults with no kids. Not big drinkers or gamblers. For this trip, we're not planning on doing any specialty dining or big "extras". We're more looking for what's included that we should check out and explore. We'll save "extras" for the next time around! 

 

A few random tips -

If you have My Time Dining, make reservations on your ship planner before the cruise - at least for the first night.  The non-reservation line on night one is crazy.  You can always change your reservations later.

You can go up to the helipad at the front of the ship.  Go outside on deck 4 and walk forward - take the stairs and you will be there. A lot of people miss this spot and it's great for going out of port.

I enjoy the entertainment in the pub - its usually just a singer/guitar - get there early for a good seat inside.  There are a lot of different entertainment styles on board so find what you like.

 

 

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We sail a lot on both Disney and Royal Caribbean and my first bit of advice is don't spend your time trying to compare them. IMHO, I think both are great cruise lines, but with different strengths. So don't harp on some of the things Disney does better, but rather find some of the things that Royal may do better.

Make sure you see the shows on the boat. Grease is very good and things like the ice show are much different than Disney.

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Another Newbie here - not meaning to threadjack, but don't want to start a whole new topic.

Two Question:

Mrs Fan and I have cruised on other lines and our first RCCL trip is coming up this fall. On another line we asked the room attendant for a fan. He brought a small 10-12 inch oscillating fan (Mrs Fan likes the white noise due to my "alleged" snoring and some breeze on her at night).  I know that some Vloggers say to buy one and bring it on board, but I am wondering if anyone has had luck just asking for a small room fan from the attendant?

Also, on other cruises, we have requested "egg crate" pads for the bed. Does RCCL provide those if requested?

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I have not been on Independence of the Seas but have been on several with Broadway shows.  I would absolutely recommend making a reservation for that show (otherwise you might end up with a less than desirable seat if you can get in at all).  You indicated you want to relax then suggest you relax in the Solarium pool (no kids allowed).  For a little fun (and I'm not a kid) I enjoy the pool slides.  On many ships that I have been on there are always interesting pieces of art that you can explore (which can be relaxing and keep you cool).  Some ships will have the interactive app for the art (not sure on Independence).  Regardless, I suggest that you take some time to walk the ship and see what it has to offer.

 

Regardless, enjoy!

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6 hours ago, PhillyLady said:

 

We  really like the RC Bahamas out island, Coco Cay.  Hopefully your ship is visiting.

My husband always does the rock climbing walls on RC.  Usually after a few tries he can make it to the top!  

 

Thanks, we are stopping at Coco Cay and are really looking forward to that!

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51 minutes ago, DMLM said:

I have not been on Independence of the Seas but have been on several with Broadway shows.  I would absolutely recommend making a reservation for that show (otherwise you might end up with a less than desirable seat if you can get in at all).  You indicated you want to relax then suggest you relax in the Solarium pool (no kids allowed).  For a little fun (and I'm not a kid) I enjoy the pool slides.  On many ships that I have been on there are always interesting pieces of art that you can explore (which can be relaxing and keep you cool).  Some ships will have the interactive app for the art (not sure on Independence).  Regardless, I suggest that you take some time to walk the ship and see what it has to offer.

 

Regardless, enjoy!

Sounds like perfect tips for us! 
The Solarium pool is on my list and we do enjoy walking around looking at Art, so that's a great tip. I will definitely check out the slides. Hopefully I can get my husband on them, too! 

How do we make reservations for the show? In the app when we board?

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11 hours ago, wordell1 said:

A few random tips -

If you have My Time Dining, make reservations on your ship planner before the cruise - at least for the first night.  The non-reservation line on night one is crazy.  You can always change your reservations later.

You can go up to the helipad at the front of the ship.  Go outside on deck 4 and walk forward - take the stairs and you will be there. A lot of people miss this spot and it's great for going out of port.

I enjoy the entertainment in the pub - its usually just a singer/guitar - get there early for a good seat inside.  There are a lot of different entertainment styles on board so find what you like.

 

 

Thanks! I have actually seen the helipad in some videos, but had forgotten about it. It's good to know how to get there. 

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18 minutes ago, EM1016 said:

How do we make reservations for the show? In the app when we board?

I am not sure that Independence of the Seas has show reservations, but if they do, then you are correct, reservations are done through the app once onboard.  Even if they do have reservations, and you do not make them, you can still show up at the shows at showtime and they open up seating to those without reservations.

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2 hours ago, FSUFAN said:

Another Newbie here - not meaning to threadjack, but don't want to start a whole new topic.

Two Question:

Mrs Fan and I have cruised on other lines and our first RCCL trip is coming up this fall. On another line we asked the room attendant for a fan. He brought a small 10-12 inch oscillating fan (Mrs Fan likes the white noise due to my "alleged" snoring and some breeze on her at night).  I know that some Vloggers say to buy one and bring it on board, but I am wondering if anyone has had luck just asking for a small room fan from the attendant?

Also, on other cruises, we have requested "egg crate" pads for the bed. Does RCCL provide those if requested?

There are some fans and egg cates available, but not enough for every stateroom. We've also had attendants add extra mattress pads to soften the bed a bit. When you meet your stateroom attendant on embarkation day just ask and they'll accommodate if they can.

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I don't know if Independence is the same as Explorer, but if it is then there is a really cool viewing area into the bridge. I think it was on the same deck as the Solarium, you had to walk through the Solarium to the front, out those doors and then down some steps into this alcove under the deck above.

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14 hours ago, EM1016 said:

We'll be doing our first RCCL cruise (Independence of the Seas) in a couple of weeks. We've sailed on 6 Disney cruises, but this is our first on Royal. It's only for three nights and we're mostly excited to relax and explore. That being said, we don't want to leave and think, "if we'd only known..."
 

Since you are experienced cruisers, you know by now not to sweat the small stuff.  On a short cruise, I wouldn't have a lot of expectations.  I'd take a peek at deck plans online or through the App to become familiar with key venues.  Decide what you are hoping to get out the trip.  For example, if you are going to stay out late dancing and sleep in late, you're not going to be walking the deck at 6 AM to catch the sunrise.  There are always trade-offs --- it you do "this" you aren't doing "that".  You're not on Oasis class, so no worries about show reservations -- check the cruise compass so you know how to fit shows around your meals.  We loved the production shows with Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers.  If you want the paper Compass in your stateroom, you need to notify Guest Services on Day 1.  Otherwise, just use the App or monitors throughout the ship.

You will be billed for tips unless you prepaid gratuities.  It is your decision whether to use envelopes for extra tips at the end of the cruise.  On a short cruise, I probably wouldn't bother unless someone gave unusually exceptional service.  Better to take photos of name badges and mention crew in your post-cruise evaluation.  That is realy important to Royal.

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On 8/1/2022 at 7:57 AM, EM1016 said:

Sounds like perfect tips for us! 
The Solarium pool is on my list and we do enjoy walking around looking at Art, so that's a great tip. I will definitely check out the slides. Hopefully I can get my husband on them, too! 

How do we make reservations for the show? In the app when we board?

I sailed on Symphony back in June and the reservations were in the app the day of the cruise.  That was the first time I had to do that (used to be online pre cruise).  There was actually a spot on the ship that you could meet with the crew (it was like at 11 am) where they could tell you how to make reservations in the app.  I would start to look in the app for the activities (prior to cruise day) and find if/when/where they offer that.  For us it was a great location.  We got on the ship, went to the location & got all of our reservations, walked out and finalized the muster.  We were done with the admin and off to eating & drinking!

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Over our 4th of July Cruise was the first time my Wife thought the bed was too hard on Symphony of the Seas. Our room attendant was able to put a mattress pad on for us when we asked and I believe it was actually just in a storage bag underneath our bed. So you should be fine if you just ask them to throw it on there.

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On Indy the only show that might require a reservation would be the Ice show. Lots of helpful advice already posted. Have fun!

 

@FSUFAN On a smaller ship like Indy, they may not have 10-12in fans, you might luck up and get a 20in box fan if they have it. If the wife needs the fan, it is better to bring your own. I never travel without mine, even if it is just a 2N cruise. 

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